Feeds

Yahoo! Ratchets! Open! Source! Grid! Platform!

Stuffed elephant rising

Application security programs and practises

Hoping to further the Google-battling ways of an open source cluster computing platform named for a stuffed elephant, Yahoo! has decided to share a 4,000-CPU, 1.5 petabyte grid with some boffins at Carnegie Mellon University.

The open source platform is called Hadoop. Yahoo! is the primary contributor to this Apache Software Foundation project, and in opening its grid to Carnegie Mellon, the web giant is pulling in some clever collaborators.

Some Carnegie Mellon researchers will use the grid to build Hadoop-happy apps, and others will help streamline the platform itself. "Basically, we're letting them go to town on this project," said Jay Kistler, the Yahoo! VP who oversees the company's grid computing efforts.

Hadoop was cooked up by Doug Cutting, famous for developing Lucene, the open source retrieval library. In building a search engine called Nutch - yes, it's open source too - Cutting realized it needed some sort of distributed computing platform running behind it. Luckily, Google had given the world a peak inside its Google File System (GFS) and MapReduce technologies.

"A lot of the design for Hadoop came from some papers published by Google," Cutting told us. "These were very nice descriptions of some very useful sounding systems - though they didn't tell us everything we needed to know, so we did diverge from Google's designs quite a bit."

Mirroring GFS and MapReduce, Hadoop offers a distributed file system as well as a means of pooling processing power. And both are designed for use with clusters of low-cost machines. "You can use commodity hardware, rather than storage appliance-type solutions," Cutting explained. "So standard PC motherboards, standard processors, standard drives."

Cutting dubbed the platform Hadoop after his son's yellow stuffed elephant. "I was looking for a name that wasn't already a web domain and wasn't trademarked, so I tried various words that were in my life but not used by anybody else. Kids are pretty good at making up words."

The platform soon caught Yahoo!'s eye, and Cutting is now a Yahoo! employee. He stresses that Hadoop is still an open source project managed by the Apache Software Foundation, but Yahoo!'s role shouldn't be underestimated. The company is already running Hadoop on some unknown portion of its back-end infrastructure. "It's used as a component - or supporting element - on some of our production systems," Kistler told us.

Meanwhile, the company's research lab has donated a new programming language to the project. Known as Pig, it's a way of building apps for the MadReduce-esque portion of the platform. "Think of it as a SQL for MapReduce," Cutting said. This will play a big role in the work at Carnegie Mellon.

Thanks to Yahoo!, the university now has access to a computing grid spanning 4,000 processors, three terabytes of memory, and 1.5 petabytes of disk space. The company says it ranks as one of the top 50 supercomputers in the world, hitting 27 trillion calculations per second at peak performance.

And if things go well at Carnegie Mellon, Yahoo! will open this grid to other universities as well. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.